“Generally, the shorter the period of time depicted, the more intense the drama. The longer the period of time depicted on a film, the more chance there is that its narrative line will become episodic, making it difficult to keep the film flowing.”
The great Milton Glaser once said, “Limitation stimulates the imagination.” Several years ago I wrote a post called Screenwriting & Time (Tip #17) and I reminded of that post when I flipped though an old book by Linda Seger today and saw the above quote highlighted. Long before I started this blog back in ’08 I had book after book full of yellow highlighted sections. This blog gave me a nice outlet to pass some of those on and add some new thoughts and quotes. And dang, here we are five years—and more than 1,400 posts—later. Time flies.
And, in general, the quicker the time flies in your screenplay the better off you’ll be. If you’re looking for a challenge in the next year, why not aim to write a story that takes place in a single day? You want more limitations to embrace? Okay, make it a story about teenagers in a single day. Here’s a short list of pretty good films that fall under those parameters:
Ferris Buelller’s Day Off
Rebel Without a Cause
The Breakfast Club
Can you think of others?